Gyeongbokgung Palace (Gyeongbok Palace)
South Korea, Seoul

The main royal residence of the Joseon Dynasty - Gyeongbokgung Palace (Gyeongbok Palace) is Seoul's largest and most luxurious palace of the Five Great Palaces. It is located in the northern part of the capital of South Korea, covers an area of 40 hectares. Gyeongbokgung (which means “palace of radiant happiness” in Korean) was built in 1395, 3 years after the accession to the throne of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Under subsequent rulers, the palace was constantly being built and expanded, and by the 16th century it had turned into a huge palace complex. During the Imzhin war of 1592-1598, the Gyeongbok palace was destroyed and burned by Japanese troops and remained abandoned for more than two and a half centuries. Gyeongbokgung was restored in 1867, during the reign of King Kodjon. Nearly 500 buildings (large and small palaces, government buildings, pavilions, gazebos, ponds and gardens for relaxation) were practically rebuilt, and the architecture of Korea and ancient China were harmoniously combined in the architecture of the palace buildings. The royal family returned to the palace, and until 1895, Gyeongbokgung was again considered the main residence of the Joseon Dynasty. In 1895, a tragedy occurred in the palace - on October 8, 1895, Japanese mercenaries burst into Gyeongbokgung, who brutally killed Queen Ming in her own chambers in front of the court ladies and servants. The brutal murder was committed by order of the Japanese envoy to Korea, Miura Goro, the purpose of the conspiracy was to eliminate the Queen, objectionable to the Japanese government, a supporter of Korea’s pro-Russian policy. After the death of his wife, King Kodjon left the palace, and the imperial family did not return to Gyeongbokgung. In 1910, Korea became a Japanese colony, the Gyeongbok Palace (a symbol of the royal power of the Joseon Dynasty) was again destroyed almost to the ground. Under the pretext of holding an exhibition on the territory of the palace, about 90% of all structures were demolished or dismantled, only 10 buildings of the palace complex survived, in which the residence of the Japanese governor-general was later located. The restoration of the Gyeongbok Palace was started in 1990, the imperial throne room of Gyeongjong and the Gyeongjuuru Pavilion, erected on 48 granite columns in the middle of an artificial lake, were completely reconstructed. The main palace gate of Gwanghwamun “returned” to its original place (they were dismantled and moved by the Japanese to the eastern part of the palace), the Royal dwellings and the Eastern Crown Prince’s palace were rebuilt in their original form. The Gyeongjong Throne Hall and the Gyeongju-heu Pavilion are declared South Korea's National Treasures. Today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is open to the public; the National Folk Museum and the National Palace Museum are located on its territory. In the palace square, at the main gate of Gwanghwamun, every hour, from 10:00 to 15:00, the royal guard changes - guards in bright national costumes completely repeat the ceremony, which was held during the Joseon Dynasty. During the restoration work carried out from 1990 to 2009, 40% of the buildings of the royal palace of Gyeongbokgung were completely reconstructed, and in 2009 the next stage of work, designed for 20 years, was launched. The project provides for the complete restoration of the Gyeongbok Palace in its former splendor.

Tourist Objects nearby
Bukhansan National Park
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Republic of Korea War Memorial
Republic of Korea War Memorial
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National Museum of Korea
National Museum of Korea
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